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Shekhawati Haveli

Shekhawati Haveli, RajasthanThe Shekhawati region was prominent on the ancient trade route. As a result, the town gave rise to several prominent business families namely Goenkas, Poddars, Singhania, Ruias and Birlas. These merchants deployed their wealth to build family mansions in the towns of Shekhawati region.

These havelis were not just large mansions; they were also made beautiful by painting the walls and ceilings with colourful motifs. The frescoes narrate stories from mythology, local legends, hunting scenes as well as daily life.  These paintings speak eloquently of the lives of people from 1750 onwards when they were first built; the march of time is clearly visible in the themes of these paintings.

Not just paintings, even the architecture of these mansions is notable. Large open courtyards, gateways carved of wood, lattice windows that glow with mirror work typical of Rajasthan and charming balconies, all make these havelis a sight to behold. Some of the well known havelis here are:

Goenka Haveli - The Mahavir Prasad Goenka Haveli in Fatehpur is believed to have the best paintings in the entire region.

Nand Lal Devra Haveli - Also in Fatehpur, this haveli is worth visiting to appreciate the efforts of a French woman, Nadine Le Prince who put new life into the decaying art form of fresco painting through this haveli.

Poddar Haveli - This haveli is in Nawalgarh and is now a museum displaying wedding costumes of different communities of Rajasthan.

Aath Haveli - This complex has six havelis in contradiction to its name that means eight havelis. This group of havelis reflects thematic changes in the frescoes over the years as one section depicts elephants, horses and camels while another depicts a steam locomotive.

Khedwal Bhawan - This haveli, also in Nawalgarh, is adorned with beautiful mirror work above the entrance of the inner courtyard and blue tile work. The outside has painting whose theme is the story of Dhola Maru, a romantic couple.

Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli - Situated in Mandawa, the themes at this haveli are religious as well as erotic.

Murmuria Haveli – Another prominent haveli in Mandawa, this haveli uses a unique theme in its paintings which is a blend of east and west- Krishna with his cows in an English courtyard.

Goenka Havelis - This is another mansion built by the famous business clan, Goenka, and is situated in Dundlod. Beautiful frescoes adorn both the interiors and exteriors of this havelis.

Sona ki Dukan Haveli - In Mahansar, a little distance from the Raghunath Temple, is this unique haveli which has gold in its paintings, unlike the typical Shekhawati paintings. A small entry charge is levied inn this mansion.

Vishnunath Keria Haveli - This haveli is also in Fatehpur and has some interesting paintings - King George and Queen Victoria in an Indian backdrop and Krishna playing a gramaphone for Radha's entertainment.
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Taj Mahal, Agra

The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had Taj Mahal constructed in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who is entombed here alongside Shah Jahan (who was buried later).

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